Friday, February 13, 2009

PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - "Triggering" - DSM-IV

I have had symptoms of PTSD for many years, Yet it took this long for the recognition and realization to sink in and thankfully that happened when I contacted EOPC to talk. I had always known I had symptoms I just did not understand why and would oftentimes brush these thoughts away and pretend nothing was wrong.

I am now in the process of receiving therapy for PTSD.

PTSD is NOT a mental illness it is an Injury! A Trauma Injury. Many victims of traumatic experiences have gone through the exact same thing whether that is from emotional abuse, sexual abuse, car wreck, death in the family etc. PTSD does not necessarily have the type of stigma you fear. Our vets that come home from war often, and more often than not, have PTSD. Fighting for our country is honorable -- they were doing a good thing and yet were damaged from their experience. The same is true for you. Source

Women who have been in pathological relationships come away from the relationships with problems associated with fear, worry, and anxiety. This is often related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or what we call 'High Harm Avoidance'-- being on high alert looking for ways she might get harmed now or in the future.

PTSD, by it's own nature as a disorder, is an anxiety disorder that is preoccupied by both the past (flashbacks and intrusive thoughts of him or events) and by the future (worry about future events, trying to anticipate his behaviors, etc.). With long term exposure to PTSD, this anxiety and worry begins to mask itself, at least in her mind, as 'fear.' In fact, most women lump together the sensations of anxiety, worry, and fear into one feeling and don't differientiate them. The term fear was used by Freud (in contrast to anxiety), to refer to the reaction to real danger. Freud emphasized the difference between fear and anxiety in terms of their relation to danger:Read More From This Article

A lot has to be undone by the therapist and your mind needs to be "Deprogrammed" from years of living with a psychopath, due to the mind games, manipulation , emotional abuse and conditioning they put you through. You need NOT feel embarrassed or ashamed of your symptoms, you need to get help! and the best place for you to gain this help is by talking to EOPC as they can direct you to a good therapist and advise you on healing

I was amazed to find I had a lot of symptoms if not all, of PTSD, I am thankful that I have an explanation and I can start working on healing.


The PTSD any victim has have from any dealings with a cyberpath: is not something you should be ashamed of, you did NOTHING wrong. You had NO WAY of knowing the cyberpath's true are NOT at fault in any way -- you need to be validated. Saying "get over it" or "it's no big deal" to you is re-victimizing you-- you need properly trained therapists.

It's widely accepted that PTSD can result from a single, major, life-threatening event, as defined in DSM-IV. Now there is growing awareness that PTSD can also result from an accumulation of many small, individually non-life-threatening incidents. To differentiate the cause, the term "Complex PTSD" is used.

There has recently been a trend amongst some psychiatric professionals to label people suffering Complex PTSD as a exhibiting a personality disorder, especially Borderline Personality Disorder. This is not the case - PTSD, Complex or otherwise, is a psychiatric injury and nothing to do with personality disorders.

It seems that Complex PTSD can potentially arise from any prolonged period of negative stress in which certain factors are present, which may include any of:

lack of means of escape,
repeated violation of boundaries,
and - crucially - lack of control, loss of control and disempowerment.

It is the overwhelming nature of the events and the inability (helplessness, lack of knowledge, lack of support etc) of the person trying to deal with those events that leads to the development of Complex PTSD.

Situations which might give rise to Complex PTSD include bullying, harassment, abuse, domestic violence, stalking, unresolved grief, [emotional rape, involvement with a cyberpath, betrayal], etc.

Until recently, little (or no) attention was paid to the psychological harm caused by [cyberpathy]. Misperceptions (usually as a result of the observer's lack of knowledge or lack of empathy) still abound:

Common symptoms of PTSD and Complex PTSD that sufferers report experiencing

hypervigilance (feels like but is not paranoia)
exaggerated startle response
sudden angry or violent outbursts flashbacks
intrusive recollections, replays
violent visualizations
sleep disturbance
exhaustion, adrenal fatigue and chronic fatigue
reactive depression
feelings of detachment
avoidance behaviors
phobias about specific daily routines, events or objects
irrational or impulsive behaviour
loss of interest
loss of ambition
anhedonia (inability to feel joy and pleasure)
poor concentration
impaired memory
joint pains, muscle pains (sometimes becomes Fibromyalgia and/or Chronic Myofascial Pain)
emotional numbness
physical numbness
low self-esteem
an overwhelming sense of injustice and a strong desire to do something about it.

How do the PTSD symptoms resulting from bullying meet the criteria in DSM-IV? Scroll Down To Read The DSM-IV

A Trigger is a component of PTSD:

Article EOPC

PTSD is a reaction to being exposed to an event which is outside the range of normal human experience. Sometimes it is referred to as post traumatic rape syndrome too. It is a normal human emotional reaction to an abnormal situation. Everyone reacts differently to different situations and it doesn't have to be a life threatening experience for someone to respond in this way. It just has to be perceived by the victim as a traumatic event. It is a psychological phenomenon. It is an emotional condition, from which it is possible to make a full and complete recovery.

PTSD affects hundreds of thousands of people who have been exposed to violent events. It is normal to be affected by trauma. There is help, and it is ok to ask for help. PTSD is not rare. It is not unusual. It is not weak to have PTSD.

Traumatic experiences bring to the fore survival skills which are valuable and useful at the time of the trauma, but which usually become less valuable, less useful and less effective with time. Sometimes survivors become stuck in problem behaviors when their pain is not acknowledged, heard, respected, or understood.

Denial plays a great part here (it didn't happen, or it shouldn't affect you).

Put-downs, dismissal or minimizing of the pain, mis-diagnosis and other forms of secondary wounding keep survivors stuck.

Symptoms may come on soon after the trauma or fifty years later. That is what is meant by the 'post' in PTSD. It is normal too for symptoms to come up again when faced by further trauma and in very stressful times. It is normal to be affected by trauma.

Society has it's own way of dealing with trauma which can both be belittling or denying. For a survivor to be told that what happened to them wasn't that bad, or was no big deal or continually being told it was time that they were over it, or just try and forget it ever happened cause secondary wounding in trauma survivors. It reinforces the mistrust of everyone and everything that trauma evokes in all survivors who no longer can believe that the universe is fair or just.

This ability to do whatever it takes to survive is instinctive. We all have it, and in traumatic enough situations, it will come out or we die. Extreme situations which trigger this reaction again and again may cause survivors to do things in order to survive which can be hard
to look back on later.

Similarly shutting down feelings in order to do whatever it takes to survive, or do your job and help others survive, is a reality based survival skill. Numbness is the answer. It is effective. It will help you live.

Unfortunately when survivors numb their fear, despair and anger, all their feelings, even good ones, are numbed. Numbness is comfortable. Thinking about what they have been through is so painful survivors wind up avoiding thinking about, feeling, or doing anything that reminds them of the trauma. For example, if they feel the trauma was their fault they may spend the rest of their life having to be right so they won't ever be at fault again. If they were happy when the trauma hit, they may avoid happiness forever.

Avoidance Symptoms: TRIGGERS

Symptoms of avoidance can be described as an emotional numbness or coldness towards people who are close to us. Survivors shut people out, or push them away. This in turn affects their relationships with those who are often the ones who are trying hardest to help. When survivors are coping with flashbacks it takes a lot of energy to try and supress the flood of emotions that threaten to overwhelm them. They find that they have no real emotion left for anyone else, and often feel emotionless or numb towards everyone else.

Inability to recall important aspects of the trauma, is another of the ways avoidance and numbing may work. This means the person cannot remember exactly what happened. Many trauma survivors forget in order to survive.

Survivors may also have learned to dissociate, to literally not be there, to survive. They automatically "switch off" during a stressful situation becuase it is too painful to deal with.

Numbness makes it hard for survivors to take care of themselves. Feelings are there to tell us how to do that. If you can't tell what you feel, you can't choose healthy behaviors for yourself.

Another symptom is avoidance of situations or activities that may trigger reminders of the traumatic event. These are commonly referred to as "triggers" Other symptoms may worsen when a situation or activity occurs that reminds them of the original trauma. Often the survivor is unable to identity a trigger without help from someone who knows about their traumatic experience.

Triggers can be people, places, sounds, images, feelings, smells, tastes, films, animals, the tone of someone's voice, body positions or sensations, weather conditions, time factors, or any combination of things that even remotely resemble or remind of traumatic experiences. They can be as subtle, complex and obscure as clues in a good detective novel.

Survivors can become so scared of particular situations that their daily lives are ruled by their attempts to avoid them. PTSD sufferers' inability to work out grief and anger during the traumatic event mean that the trauma will continue to control their behavior without their being aware of it. Depression is a common product of this inability to resolve painful feelings.

Hyperarousal Symptoms The survivor part of us is not able to listen to "reason". It is going to be constantly looking for danger from now on whether or not others think it is reasonable. Real physiological changes occur in the brains of survivors which make them quick to react.

In order to live through the trauma, survivors may develop the capacity to go from being completely fine into a killing rage in seconds. That defensive mechanism helps them live.

Some survivors may stop sleeping soundly. Sleep can get you killed or at the very least "unaware", so they won't take the risk. Survivors
may be uncannily able to read the moods of those around them because the moods of their abusers defined their lives. Sometimes they also become hypervigilant, searching for physical danger everywhere they are and all of the time.

(Survivors of Sex Addicts often suffer from Persistant Sexual Arousal Syndrome - where they are sexually aroused all or most of the time. )

Due to hypervigilance and lack of sleep, it is hard for survivors to concentrate on everyday things. They may do poorly in school and in their everyday lives that leads them to believe they are stupid or inept when actually they have a symptom of PTSD.

Survivors often react faster and more completely to sudden noises or movements. These are lifesaving skills that the survivor feels they need while they are still at risk. These are reality based, effective survival skills. They keep you alive.

They don't go away by themselves. They need specialized help.


Anonymous said...

"The smear campaign begins in full force."

Wow--great aticle--been there done that...people don't understand what can cause PTSD from BPD's, NPD's...basically all Cluster B's...

--Atlanta One